Austin Foundation Inspection Experts
Come to Us When Your Home Foundation Needs Repair
Common Foundation Problems
Foundation problems can be discovered by several tell-tale signs. Most foundation problems are usually of a structural nature and can necessitate repair.
Austin, Texas homes and buildings commonly use one of two main types of foundations: slab or pier-and-beam styles. Some of the most common signs that indicate problems with both types are briefly described below.
Most Austin, TX homes and buildings rest on a concrete slab foundation. With this type of design, the structure sits directly on top of a poured slab of concrete. There is no crawlspace underneath. This type of construction is simple, durable and preferred by most builders.
Problems with a slab foundation can produce signs like:
- Visible slab cracks
- Indoor drywall cracks
- Ceiling drywall cracks
- Sticking doors that don’t close
- Visible cracks in exterior brick
- Exterior door and window trim separations
- Bulging foundation slab
In a pier-and-beam style foundation, horizontal wooden beams underneath the structure meet with vertical towers of concrete or cement blocks. The home or building is held off the ground underneath, leaving a crawlspace that gives access to the bottom of the structure. The wooden beams, although made from treated lumber, can still deteriorate over time, and any issues with moisture intrusion or retention can accelerate the deterioration.
Foundation problems with a pier-and-beam foundation include the same symptoms for a slab foundation, with these additional options:
- Weak or sagging floors
- Musty, damp odor
- Standing water underneath the structure
- Cracked, twisted or deteriorated wooden beams underneath the structure
Any one or a combination of these problems can indicate a serious problem with your building’s foundation. A professional structural engineer from Crosstown Engineering can perform a foundation inspection and recommend any needed repairs. Our foundation inspection engineers physically examine every accessible location, including crawlspaces, in order to make an accurate evaluation of your foundation’s condition.
Call Crosstown Engineering today if you suspect there are problems with your foundation.
Circumstances that Warrant a Foundation Inspection
Foundation Inspections and Home Inspections
Those who are unfamiliar with home and structural or foundation inspections are often confused about the nature of each. The standard home inspection will typically look for evidence of foundation problems, and will indicate any findings in the final report. However, this is not a full foundation inspection.
If any foundation problems are discovered or suspected by the home inspector, he or she will recommend calling a structural engineering firm like Crosstown Engineering to perform a complete foundation inspection.
It should be pointed out that not all foundation problems require repair. In some instances, simply monitoring the foundation over time is all that is needed. Any further deterioration will be detected, and repairs may be needed later.
The most common situations that demand a foundation inspection include:
- Symptoms indicate obvious foundation problems.
- Verification of a sturdy foundation design in a new home construction project.
- Before a new home buy (as requested by a lender).
- When buying or selling a home within the 10-year builder’s warranty timeframe.
- Before major additions or renovations to the home.
- Before beginning foundation repairs; an inspection is required to craft an engineered repair plan and obtain a permit for the repairs.
- After a foundation repair is completed, in order to verify that the repair plan was carried out properly.
It is important to note that a structural engineer should always be involved in the foundation evaluation and repair planning processes. Only a licensed and experienced structural engineer has the knowledge and training to properly inspect and plan for repairs to a structure’s foundation. Foundation companies in Austin that do not use a structural engineer in these operations risk making costly and ineffective repairs.
Call Crosstown Engineering for professional, trustworthy foundation inspections and other home inspection services.
Determining Foundation Problems
Conditions that Cause Foundations to Fail
Among the many conditions that can cause a foundation to develop problems or fail, almost all involve the underlying soil and moisture content.
- The foundation was built upon poor soil types
- Plumbing leaks cause the soil to move beneath the foundation
- Seasonal movement leads to permanent changes in the foundation
- Improper compaction of fill dirt
- Guttering and drainage problems
- Previous foundation repairs were completed improperly
- Vegetation growing too close to the foundation
- Poor foundation design
- Foundation construction contrary to the design
Hiring the Best Foundation Inspection Firm
Find Out Who You Can Trust
Many foundation repair firms in Austin also perform foundation inspections. Sadly, in Texas, foundation repair companies are not required to be licensed. Far too often, they have not registered engineering firms. This is problematic on two counts:
- It could be a conflict of interest if the same company is doing the inspection and the repairs, because there is no accountability for inadequate work or negligence.
- Only a registered engineering firm has the education, training and technical expertise that is required to render an accurate and reliable foundation inspection report.
When you choose an independent engineering company like Crosstown Engineering, you are assured that only the most advanced and proven engineering practices are included in your foundation repair plan. Other notable benefits to contracting with Crosstown Engineering for your inspection and repair plan include:
- Board of Engineers guaranteed accountability
- A Crosstown Engineering foundation inspection report is a legal document, and our professional evaluations are accepted as valid before a court of law and with real estate and loan professionals.
- An engineering report is required to open and close permits and verify that the work was completed according to plan. This is true when selling a building, obtaining a loan, or dealing with contractors.
- Only a trained engineer knows the proper dimensions, support, and spacing that are required for pier-and-beam foundations.
- Only an engineer can discern the causes of foundational problems and create a plan for repairs that will prevent a reocurrence.
- Crosstown Engineering only recommends the most reputable area foundation repair companies with dependable records for quality and reliability.
It is IMPERATIVE to only trust a licensed engineering firm to physically inspect a foundation after repairs have been completed. This is the only way to completely verify that the repair was completed with competence, or if further work is required.
Understanding a Foundation Inspection Report
An Engineer is an Investment for the Future
The first foundation inspection, or “initial inspection,” seeks to determine if foundation repairs are necessary. The standard foundation inspection report should:
- Comply with a “Level B” foundation inspection report
- Include elevation mapping
- Cover on-site guttering or drainage problems
- Spell out the root causes of any foundation problems
In the event that foundation repairs are NOT recommended for your Austin home, the report should clearly reveal that fact, or recommend further monitoring.
Crosstown Engineering works for you – our client – NOT foundation repair companies. We are beholden to no one, and our client’s best interests are the primary concern. That’s why you can trust our foundation reports and any repair recommendations we offer.
Hiring the Best Foundation Repair Firm
Trust the Word of a Structural Engineer
Crosstown Engineering does not perform foundation repairs, but we have seen firsthand the work of numerous Austin area foundation repair companies. And we have inspected many foundations that required repairs. Our engineers have witnessed the very best and the very worst in this business. As a result, we recommend caution when choosing a foundation repair contractor. Here are some important reasons why:
- Texas foundation repair companies are not required to obtain a license.
- Texas requires no experience or training for companies that perform inspections or repairs.
- Without engineering credentials, a foundation repair company cannot understand how to identify the cause of foundation problems.
- Unethical repair contractors may avoid contact if issues arise after final payment.
- Any pier warranty offered is only good for the life of the company, and many inferior foundation repair companies do not last.
- It is not an uncommon practice for unethical repair companies to go “out of business” and then begin working with a new company name to avoid accountability.
Crosstown Engineering is always pleased to offer a list of reliable foundation repair contractors for our clients.
Crosstown Engineering – Foundation Inspection Experts
We Only do Things One Way – The Right Way
Crosstown Engineering guarantees:
- A thorough assessment to identify the cause and all possible remedies for any foundation problems.
- Honest, transparent and respectful communication on all matters relating to your project.
- A registered structural engineer will always oversee all foundation inspections and repair plans.
When you need reputable, dependable foundation inspections and repair plans, call Crosstown Engineering.